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Friday August 31, 2012

NEW YORK -- Robin Roberts said goodbye Thursday to her "Good Morning America" co-workers and audience. But only for a while.

"See you later. See you soon. I'll get back as soon as I can," she promised at the close of her emotional send-off from the show.

The "GMA" anchor was making her final appearance before starting medical leave for a bone marrow transplant. Her departure had originally been set for today but in a last-minute change of plans she chose to exit a day early to visit her ailing mother in Mississippi, she told viewers.

During her absence, a number of famous faces will be subbing for her.

Roberts announced that Oprah Winfrey, Chris Rock and Rob Lowe will be among the stand-ins, as well as the cast of the ABC comedy "Modern Family."

In June, Roberts had first disclosed that she has MDS, a blood and bone marrow disease. She will be hospitalized next week to prepare for the transplant. The donor will be her older sister, Sally-Ann Roberts, who was on hand for Thursday's broadcast.

Roberts, who has put a brave and usually smiling face on the challenges that await her, shared with viewers an inspirational quote: "Life provides losses and heartbreak for all of us. But the greatest tragedy is to have the experience, and miss the meaning."

Said Roberts, "I am determined not to miss that meaning."